Diocese appeals sex lawsuit to SCOTUS
BATON ROUGE- The Diocese of Baton Rouge has filed an appeal with the nation's highest court involving a sex abuse lawsuit in Baton Rouge. It comes as new details are emerging about the lawsuit which was unsealed this week.
This case involves Rebecca Mayeux, who is now 20. She was 14 at the time she claims she was molested by a parishioner at her church, George Charlet Junior. The East Feliciana Parish Sheriff's Office launched an investigation, but Charlet died unexpectedly after undergoing surgery.
"There were instances where Mr. Charlet throughout that summer did touch and kiss me on church grounds and he would make a lot of sexual advances during mass itself," Mayeux said.
Some of the abuse also occurred at the funeral home he owned in Zachary, according to Mayeux. Court documents that were just unsealed detail what she says happened.
"Mr. Charlet, seated on the couch and Rebecca seated on his lap, he again kissed her placing his tongue deeply down her throat. He began touching Rebecca's breasts and indicated that they should walk over to his office," the lawsuit said.
Charlet was 64 at the time. Rebecca was 14.
The Diocese of Baton Rouge had no problem with this case being unsealed. What could be two key pieces of evidence a computer seized by the East Feliciana Parish Sheriff's Office and a diary written by George Charlet Junior are still sealed.
Court documents suggest the 53 page diary given to Rebecca Mayeux contains several sexual nuances, including this one:
"I promise it will not hurt too bad. I would be quick if you would rather or slow and easy. Well ok, slow and easy," the lawsuit says is written in the diary.
While this was unfolding, Mayeux claims she went to the man who she trusted most in her life, her Priest, Father Jeffrey Bayhi. The conversations happened while she was seeking advice during a confession. Bayhi did not report the alleged abuse to authorities, and the lawsuit contends he had a mandatory duty to report under the Louisiana Children's Code.
The Catholic Church says confessions are sacred and priests cannot disclose what happened.
Father Bayhi said the following during a deposition.
"I will say I did not see Mr. Charlet do anything different with Rebecca than he did with other kids, other adults, other old women, other old men."
Bayhi was asked, "What you saw was all public and not inappropriate?"
"Correct," Bayhi responded.
That doesn't sit well with Rebecca's attorney.
"Regardless if it's Baptist or Catholic or Methodist or whatever the denomination, when someone in that type of authority learns these matters, regardless of the setting, take some action, protect that child, especially if you know things are ongoing and may escalate," Brian Abels said.
Tonight, that issue is being called into question. The nation's highest court may ultimately decide if Father Bayhi should have spoken up.
A trial is scheduled for next July. If you would like to read a summary of the 133 page appeal from the Diocese to the Supreme Court, click here. If you want to read the statement from the Diocese of Baton Rouge, click here.